NEW DELHI (TIP): The National Green Tribunal on July 2 imposed a complete ban on plastic bags in the pilgrimage towns of Haridwar and Rishikesh, slamming the authorities for lackadaisical attitude in keeping the Ganga clean, warning of action against those violating the order.

The NGT expressed displeasure at the “pathetic” state of affairs prevailing on the bank of river Ganga and castigated the authorities for lackadaisical approach on the issue, as it pronounced the order to make the Ganga pollution- free to allow devotees to take a dip and collect clean water and imposed a fine of Rs 5,000 per violation.

“There shall be complete prohibition on plastic in the entire Haridwar and Rishikesh, particularly on the banks and flood plains of river Ganga. Plastic will not be used for any purpose whatsoever i.e for serving food, commodities, packing items etc.

“Any person found using, bringing or in any way dealing with plastic material in that area would be liable to pay Rs 5,000 per incident as compensation for degradation of environment,” the bench headed by NGT Chairperson Justice Swatanter Kumar said while passing a slew of directions to make the Ganga free from pollution.

The Tribunal ordered that Haridwar Nagar Nigam, police and state pollution control board officials posted in that area would take rounds of flood plains and ghats of Ganga to ensure that no plastic is used in any manner.

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It also held that no commodity of any kind is sold by the shopkeepers in plastic bags and the Nigam would ensure that any kind of municipal solid waste or animal waste is not permitted to be thrown in the ghats under any circumstances.

“The Nigam, pollution control board and police shall within one week from today place appropriate sized dustbins near the shops and it would be mandatory for prople to throw waste in dustbins only. The waste shall be collected on daily basis and taken at appropriate site and dumped according to MSW Rules, 2000,” the bench said while directing “round the clock” cleaning activities on the ghats.

“These state agencies would be further responsible for making an appropriate site and prepare it scientifically for storage of waste. It shall be treated, waste deposit shall be covered by soil and disinfectant sprayed regularly,” the bench said.

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